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Berlinale World Cinema Fund Chief Vincenzo Bugno Talks Bolzano Fest’s New Maso Short Films Lab

April 18, 20243 Mins Read

Vincenzo Bugno, who heads the Berlinale World Cinema Fund and is curator of the Torino Film Feature Lab, became artistic director of South Tyrol’s Bolzano Film Festival Bozen last year.

In this guise, the veteran industry expert is putting his know-how behind a new program called Maso, dedicated to fostering the production of European shorts in tandem with the IDM-Film Commission Südtirol. The shorts lab launched earlier this week in Bolzano, with a panel also comprising Berlinale Shorts chief Anna Henckel-Donnersmarck and the Torino Short Film Market’s Enrico Vannucci.

Below, Bugno speaks to Variety about why he got the urge to foster the production of short films shot in South Tyrol that can travel around the world.

How did Maso germinate?

When I started working for this festival last year, I got to thinking about the specificity of this particular territory. South Tyrol is an extremely interesting film location because there is the film festival, there is a great film commission and a very well-known film school called ZeLIG, plus a great university. And, yes, if you analyze the film industry, shorts are definitely marginalized and there is a gap in the market. This gap pertains to training, visibility and distribution. So we decided to work on this all together following one of my favorite slogans, which is, “The more local, the more international.” So we are developing this project that definitely has a local soul, but it’s also about crossing borders and working with other international institutions in Europe.

Why is it called Maso?

Maso means a farm on the mountain. I think it explains very well also the type of initiative, which is definitely about working together to try to find a new profile for shorts and, if possible, to also have fun.

Give me a snapshot of what the shorts lab entails.

It’s about developing and shepherding short film projects from different European countries. We are working with eight director and producer teams and meeting them within the framework of different workshops in Europe over the next two years. We are working with different international organizations. The first workshop will take place at end of this year in Norway, and the second one in spring 2025 during the festival here in Bolzano. The idea is to world premiere all the films both at an international festival and also here in Bolzano. Basically, in cooperation with IDM-Film Commission Südtirol, Maso is supporting the full cycle of these shorts: developing scripts, honing the narrative structure, etc. But it’s also about working on the future life of these films after they are produced. Clearly, one of the biggest challenges is the distribution and visibility of these films after they are made.

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